A Dickensian Christmas

Posted on 16th December 2014 by simonbeattie

Everyone knows A Christmas Carol (1843), and perhaps other famous Christmas stories by Charles Dickens such as The Chimes (1844) and The Cricket on the Hearth (1845).  But Dickens wrote other Christmas tales, later in his career, the last of them being No Thoroughfare, written in collaboration with Wilkie Collins (who was then working on The Moonstone), which appeared as both a novel and a stage play at the end of 1867.

Of course, Dickens did not just have readers in Britain and America.  He was also enormously popular in Europe, particularly in Russia.  Dostoevsky wrote: ‘We understand Dickens in Russia, I am convinced, almost as well as the English, and maybe even all the subtleties; maybe even we love him no less than his own countrymen …’ (Diary of a Writer, 1870).  Given the ready readership abroad, it is perhaps not surprising that No Thoroughfare was published in Russian very quickly, in 1868:

Some warming Christmas cheer for readers during a long, cold Russian winter.  Fascinatingly, it was passed by the Imperial censor on 3 January 1868, just weeks after it had appeared in All The Year Round.  The speed of transmission, from London to St Petersburg, and from English into Russian, does seem extraordinary.

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